Scotland

River City actor Johnny Beattie retires after 60 years in showbusiness

Actor Johnny Beattie with co-stars of River City on his last day of filming. Image copyright Alan Peebles
Image caption Actor Johnny Beattie with co-stars of River City on his last day of filming.

Actor Johnny Beattie is to retire after 13 years on the BBC's River City and more than six decades in entertainment.

Mr Beattie, 88, has played the role of Malcolm Hamilton in the soap since the show's launch in 2002.

His final storyline will centre on Malcolm's ailing health due to vascular dementia and the impact it has on him and his loved ones.

Mr Beattie's last scenes with River City were filmed on Friday.

They will be broadcast in June.

He said: "I'm one of the original River City cast members and I've had a wonderful time working with great people who have become lifelong friends.

"It's strange to say goodbye to Malcolm but the time is right for me. River City, its cast and crew, hold a very dear place in my heart - I'm going to miss them all."

Panto dames

Mr Beattie's showbusiness career has spanned variety, stand-up comedy, TV and film roles and quiz shows as well as his panto dames.

His many performances established him as one of the giants of Scotland's comedy scene alongside Rikki Fulton, Jack Milroy and Stanley Baxter.

The 1960s saw the broadcast of Johnny Beattie's Saturday Night Show which ran until 1970 and his screen roles have included the movie The Big Man with Billy Connolly and Liam Neeson, Taggart, Rab C Nesbitt and Scotch and Wry.

River City's series producer Donald MacKinnon said: "It truly is the end of an era for River City and the Scottish entertainment industry.

"Johnny has been at the heart of the show from the very start and will be sorely missed by all cast and crew.

"A terrific storyteller, Johnny always had a tale to tell about his vast career and was a real joy to have on set.

"Everyone at River City wishes him a happy retirement and he's always welcome to pop back to Shieldinch anytime."